An Oblique View of Abedin Is One of MESSENGER’s Final Scenes
The 72-mile (116-km) -wide crater Adedin is seen at an oblique angle in this mosaic made from images acquired by NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft. The angle highlights the crater’s central peak complex which surrounds a shallow depression that could have a volcanic origin, as well as fine cracks in the floor of its basin and a slumped and terraced section of its far wall. The crater was named after the Bangladeshi painter Zainul Abedin (1914-1976).
And I suggest you enjoy it – it will be one of the last images we see from MESSENGER!
Launched on August 3, 2004, MESSENGER entered orbit around Mercury in March 2011 and has been investigating the innermost planet for the past four years. But it’s exhausted its fuel and is now running on fumes – literally – and will soon no longer be able to make powered adjustments to maintain its orbit.
MESSENGER is expected to descend to the planet’s surface next week, impacting on April 30 at around 3:25 p.m. EDT.
This means that any images acquired over the next week – including the ones below – are some of the last we will ever get from MESSENGER.
Sadly it will be the undeniable end of the MESSENGER mission, but the over ten terabytes of data acquired by the spacecraft will be used by scientists for many years to come. MESSENGER was a highly successful mission, both for the spacecraft and for its ingenious engineers here on Earth, and it revealed many of Mercury’s best-kept secrets… which, ultimately, are clues to how our entire Solar System works.
Source: MESSENGER website
Image credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington